Mon, 06 Dec 2021

Tied on playoff cut line, D.C. United, NYCFC play crucial match

Field Level Media
23 Oct 2021, 08:19 GMT+10

New York City FC no longer carries the burden of wondering when their next goal will occur, but the drought dropped them from a secure position in the Eastern Conference race to just below the cutoff line.

On Saturday, NYCFC can directly impact their positioning in the race when they host seventh-place D.C. United at Yankee Stadium, where they will play for the first time in nearly a month.

NYCFC (11-11-8, 41 points) share the same point total with D.C. (12-13-5) but have one fewer win. Both teams are one point behind CF Montreal, which next visit Toronto, and two behind idle Atlanta United.

"We need to create that atmosphere and Yankee Stadium, finally play at home, real home in front of our supporters," NYCFC coach Ronny Deila said. "That's going to be massive. So, we have belief in this team, where we're going to fight to the playoffs."

After a 2-1 win over FC Cincinnati on Sept. 18, NYCFC held third place in the Eastern Conference but have scored two goals during a six-game winless skid (0-3-3). The first goal was by Valentin Castellanos in the 31st minute of a 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls on Sept. 22 and NYCFC did not score again for a club-record 509 minutes until substitute Gudmundur Thorarinsson scored on a free kick in the 90th minute to earn a draw with Atlanta.

"I think everybody (is) trying to do their best to turn this around," Thorarinsson said. "It's so difficult."

D.C.'s 51 goals are the second-most in the Eastern Conference and third-most in the league. United have scored three goals in a three-game winless skid (0-2-1) after scoring seven times in its final two wins last month.

Ola Kamara has 17 of those goals and leads the MLS scoring race but has just one goal in his past six matches since getting three on Sept. 15 against Chicago.

On Wednesday, United took the lead early in the second half but took a 3-2 home loss to the league-leading New England Revolution.

"Everything is in our hands," D.C. coach Hernan Losada said. "Not many teams can say that four games before the end. Let's not forget where we're coming from and where we are right now in only eight months.

D.C. also is 2-9-4 on the road and 0-4-1 in its past five road matches.

--Field Level Media

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